Microsoft Unified Communications Technologies
For the Financial Services Industry
Unified communications makes it easy and efficient for employees at financial services companies to
reach the people they need from the devices and applications they know and use.
In today’s financial services environment, strategic business needs drive IT requirements. IT departments
are constantly being asked to deliver more to increase business capabilities while spending less money
and using fewer resources to do it.
Financial services organizations in banking, insurance, capital markets and securities require the ability to
collaborate on demand, anywhere and at any time. For the customer, lack of integration can mean
frustrating delays, inconsistent data across channels, and a less than satisfactory experience. In fact, banks
lose more than 10 percent of their customers each year.1 Arguably, it is most critical for advisors, agents,
brokers, asset managers, traders and specialists across the industry to be able to make those connections
with co-workers, customers, and suppliers or intermediaries if they are to successfully serve their clients
and the needs of their business. These financial professionals need the flexibility to communicate and
access information in the way they want, and when and where they need it the most. They want to provide
consistent and effective customer service, develop and maintain advisory relationships with their clients,
and stay on top of and respond to rapid changes in the market. To accomplish this, financial services
professionals need collaboration tools to help them communicate appropriately and efficiently from
within the business applications and along with the business systems they already use every day.
Microsoft Corp.’s approach to unified communications puts people at the center of communications
through a single identity across all modes, from PCs to telephones to PDAs. Microsoft® unified
communications technologies combine rich, intuitive and seamless communications with e-mail, instant
messaging (IM), voice, data, video and conferencing. Microsoft offers financial services companies a
complete software platform that unifies communications with their business applications and processes,
streamlining the way employees reach one another and communicate. The unified communications
technologies comprise the following:
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007
Microsoft Office Communicator
Microsoft Office Live Meeting
- more -
Microsoft Unified Communications Technologies for the Financial Services Industry Page 2
Improve Customer Service and Sales
Retail banks are focused on quality of service in providing not only traditional banking products and
services, but a full range of financial services to meet a customer’s financial needs. So it is important that
banks make sure their sales and services staff is well-trained on all that they can provide. By using
Microsoft unified communications technologies, banks can extend their training programs and make it
easier to have recurring and updated training for everyone from the tellers and in-branch specialists to the
front-line managers and call center staff.
In addition, banks must identify ways in which the in-branch staff can help increase branch profitability.
For example, the role of a teller is expanding beyond the simple handling of receipts and balances. Tellers
are now being asked to identify opportunities to deliver the right messages to the right customers, turning
those customers into the next and best sales leads that they can pass to in-branch advisors and specialists.
Also, when financial services companies have a complete view of their clients’ relationships and offer
them advice on the complete portfolio, not only do they gain more business, but their clients also see
greater value in their relationship with the company.
Wholesale and corporate banks have a similar challenge: They must provide their corporate clients with
excellent customer service at any time and on any topic. Providing a collaborative environment that
allows representatives to bring to bear the strengths of the entire organization on any client query, issue or
task leads to more successful and stable relationships.
When it comes to the financial advisor — whether in the branch, brokerage or insurance firm — all
financial services firms would like to give their advisors a complete view of the client’s holdings. This
allows advisors to give their clients advice on the complete portfolio, leading to not only more business,
but also a lifelong, trusted advisory relationship. This can be achieved by providing the advisors with a
collaborative environment that allows them to reach out to specialists within the organization to more
quickly and effectively respond to any questions their clients may have on a full range of products,
services and issues. Such an environment would include the following technologies:
Office Live Meeting is a webconferencing service that helps users more effectively collaborate on or
deliver interactive presentations with anyone, virtually anywhere, using just a PC and an Internet
connection. With Office Live Meeting, tellers and branch staff members can be quickly and
effectively trained on the details of a new product or campaign, including ways they can sell or
promote it and any related terms and conditions. Trainees can interact with the trainer virtually, in
real time, without requiring either party to travel. Training also can occur more often and be more
easily rolled out to support specific sales and marketing programs. This training helps staff improve
overall customer service and, as a result, branch profitability.
Office Communicator, a unified communications client, when coupled with Office Communications
Server 2007 gives customer service representatives the convenience of one identity to view a person’s
presence information (a display of the availability for a person or device to communicate) and
determine the best means of communication. When a customer has a question, the employee is able to
initiate a conversation with a specialist or expert, regardless of location, and quickly gather
information to help answer customer questions promptly. With this communication model, customer
service representatives have access to tax experts, insurance advisors, product specialists and others
with high-value expertise, right at their fingertips. This increases customer service at the point of
interaction and helps companies sell more products and services.
Office Live Meeting provides a collaborative webconference for advisors to give advice to clients. It
is a rich, interactive channel for communicating with valuable customers unable to travel to a branch
office. Using Office Live Meeting, the advisor can present customers with a clear view of where they
- more -
Microsoft Unified Communications Technologies for the Financial Services Industry Page 3
stand in all their holdings, and what they might consider An Overview of the Microsoft Unified
adding or changing. The foundation for Office Live Communications Platform
Meeting interactivity is its ability to broadcast visuals of The Microsoft unified communications platform
any type, including presentations, commonly used provides rich, instant collaboration, seamless access
document types such as Microsoft Office Word and to information on virtually any device, and
Office Excel®, applications, or Web pages to remote security-enhanced information storage and retrieval
through the following technologies:
participants in real time. Because presenters can choose
to share either a portion of their desktop or the entire Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is the
screen, management of meeting content is simple and industry’s leading server for e-mail, calendaring
and unified messaging. Exchange Server 2007 is
flexible. Presenters can also choose whether meeting a messaging system with built-in protection
participants can edit those documents in real time. technology against spam and viruses. Features in
Exchange Server 2007 offer users anywhere
Customer satisfaction can be further enhanced through access2 to e-mail, voice mail, calendars and
effective after-sales service and support enabled by contacts from a wide variety of devices to people
Office Communicator and Exchange Server 2007. throughout an organization. Information about
Federation capabilities of Office Communicator allow Exchange Server 2007 is available at
advisors to exchange instant messages directly with
customers using security-enhanced consumer IM Microsoft Office Communications Server
services such as MSN®, AOL or Yahoo! In addition, 2007 is a robust, flexible, presence-based
platform that enables contextual communication
Exchange Server 2007 facilitates mobile access to e-mail across the applications, networks and devices
for employees, so that they can respond to customer businesses already know and use. It is an
questions about their accounts in a timely manner, even enterprise-grade server that provides the
while traveling. backbone for all real-time communications
within Microsoft Office.
Microsoft Office Communicator is a unified
Enable and Empower the Insurance Industry Value communications client. Working with Office
Chain Communications Server 2007, the client delivers
unified voice capabilities, call management,
The insurance industry is a value chain, stretching from agent multiparty video, on-premise webconferencing,
or broker to carrier, underwriter and reinsurance firm. The presence status and control, enhanced business
IM, and data and application sharing. It allows
value chain must work in concert and work efficiently to intercompany federation and connectivity to
provide the expected level of customer service while public IM networks such as MSN, AOL and
supporting business goals. Yahoo!
Microsoft Office Live Meeting is a
With Microsoft unified communications technologies, agents webconferencing service that will help users
and brokers can communicate quickly and effectively with more effectively collaborate on, train for or
carriers and other partners through e-mail, IM, mobile and deliver interactive presentations with anyone,
virtually anywhere, using just a PC and an
voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), telephony, audio- and Internet connection.
videoconferencing, and webconferencing. Claims agents can
rapidly and effectively respond to customer needs. Carriers Microsoft RoundTable is a communications
device consisting of a 360-degree camera and
can quickly communicate with the network of agents and unified communications software. RoundTable
brokers, providing rapid service and promoting the use of has built-in microphones that capture audio
their insurance products over competing products that also content with exceptional clarity. The console
are available to the independent agents or brokers. enables meeting content to be recorded, indexed
and archived for playback, transforming
Office Communicator eliminates the need to keep track meetings into reusable corporate assets.
of multiple phone numbers, e-mail addresses and IM
addresses for a single contact. Office Communicator also More information on Microsoft’s unified
recognizes presence information for remote team communications technologies can be found on the
members, partners and customers over a broad range of UCG home page at http://www.microsoft.com/uc
devices, applications and networks. It is designed to give or the virtual pressroom at
users greater control of the telephony experience from http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/uc.
- more -
Microsoft Unified Communications Technologies for the Financial Services Industry Page 4
their PC regardless of the back-end infrastructure involved, and will expose telephony capabilities
through an identity-based, person-centric interface that focuses on the individual’s needs rather than
on device-specific requirements. The collaborative environment with IM, presence and integrated
telephony allows agents to more quickly and effectively find the right information on the terms and
conditions of any policy that the client might have questions about.
Office Live Meeting can enable more effective collaboration with insurance carriers and other parties
to answer questions, consider variables, provide illustrations and ultimately give clients the best
insurance policy for their needs and budget, all while sharing the same Microsoft Office system
documents in real time. A large area for viewing shared documents within Office Live Meeting helps
keep people focused on the content. Participants see only the toolbars that are relevant to their
individual permissions and the shared content.
If insurance carriers wish to enhance a webconference to make the experience more personal for their
network of agents or brokers, they can initiate a videoconference. The RoundTable device coupled
with Office Communications Server 2007 provides meeting participants, including those in remote
locations, with a panoramic view of everyone in the conference room and close-ups of individual
participants, triggered by the voice of the active speaker.
Microsoft unified communications technologies such as Exchange Server 2007 and Office
Communications Server 2007 can improve the insurance claims process by speeding collaboration,
communication and workflow among the agent, the claims adjuster, the claims department, the body
shop and the investigation unit. Streamlining communications helps companies speed the claim
process, ultimately helping to reduce costs and improve the customer experience. This is critical in
insurance because the quality of the claims experience often determines the length and quality of the
Boost the Ability to Address Compliance and Risk Requirements
Regulatory changes related to statutory reporting and disclosure continue to place pressure on financial
services companies. Growing awareness of the imbalanced access to information, coupled with public
pressure for transparency and accountability in the wake of accounting scandals, has led to this increased
pressure. There is a strong need to reduce the exposure of financial market participants to systemic
vulnerabilities such as the development of intrusion protection plans.
Microsoft unified communications technologies help the financial services industry respond to the
pressure for corporate accountability and business transparency. Companies can leverage the increased
collaboration and communication from these technologies to support risk management, anti-money-
laundering procedures, document management and records retention:
Features such as the logging and archiving of IM and e-mail communications allow Exchange Server
2007 and Office Communications Server 2007 to help financial organizations meet regulatory
requirements. Financial services employees can have a record of all interactions with customers,
partners, advisors and colleagues and can quickly gather past communications for audits or any other
needs related to proving compliance.
An employee’s user identity and authentication can be controlled across companies and networks
with Office Communications Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007; an IT administrator can grant
specific access rights and permissions to people, computers and resources such as rooms and
videoconference equipment. This information is tied to a specific user, regardless of whether he or
she is logging in from the company desktop, via a mobile device or remotely via the Internet. Also,
the two technologies contain rights management and group policy tools that allow exceptional
attention to security, compliance and privacy at every step.
- more -
Microsoft Unified Communications Technologies for the Financial Services Industry Page 5
Employees who download consumer-grade IM solutions may expose financial services companies to
risks because their IT managers cannot monitor those IM systems. The systems often bypass
corporate anti-virus and e-mail scanners, potentially breaching the company’s firewall. Office
Communicator, running on Office Communications Server 2007, provides financial services
companies with a highly robust and security-enhanced enterprise-IM solution.
Data extracted from http://www.microsoft.com/industry/financialservices/banking/businessvalue/siarticle.mspx.
Anywhere access requires Internet connectivity. Outlook® Voice Access requires phone connectivity.
For more information, press only:
Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, (503) 443-7070,